Dally was so real he scared me.
Ponyboy speaks these words in Chapter 5,
during his stay with Johnny in the abandoned church in Windrixville.
Pony’s realization stems from a comment Johnny makes after reading
a passage from
Johnny, on the other hand, though quieter and more timid than Ponyboy, finds it in himself to admire Dally and to look past his intimidating exterior. Dally does not scare him but rather fascinates him, and he holds a romanticized vision of Dally as an honorable Southern gentleman. By comparing Dally to a character in a book, Johnny becomes able to understand him. In a sense, Ponyboy’s and Johnny’s comments about Dally reveal that Ponyboy is even more vulnerable than Johnny.